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Open Access European audiovisual media policy in the age of global video on demand services: A case study of Netflix in the Netherlands

This article is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND licence.

This article considers the provisions in the European Union’s revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive concerning video on demand (VOD) services and the effectiveness of supply-side cultural diversity regulations in achieving their purported policy goals of increased production and consumption of European works. Because the Netherlands is the ‘country of origin’ to several multinational VOD services, including Netflix, we conducted a case study of this specific national context. We examine the quota for and prominence of European works, as well as different forms of financial obligations. We find that the former two policy tools may require new strategies to effectively reach their objectives in a nonlinear context. Our evidence also indicates that the latter remains controversial in the domestic audiovisual industry, as stakeholder positions are dependent on the type(s) of production stimulated. Based on this, we argue that securing the independence of producers and ensuring VOD services are transparent with respect to performance data are essential to promoting source diversity and a sustainable value chain.

Keywords: Audiovisual Media Services Directive; Netflix; cultural diversity; media policy; nonlinear television; prominence; quota; video on demand regulation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: 0000000084992262University of Amsterdam 2: 0000000084992262Luiss Business School and University of Amsterdam

Publication date: November 1, 2021

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  • The Journal of Digital Media and Policy (formerly known asĀ International Journal of Digital Television) aims to analyse and explain the socio-cultural, political, economic and technological questions surrounding digital media and address the policy issues facing regulators globally. This double-blind-peer-reviewed journal brings together and shares the work of academics, policy-makers and practitioners, offering lessons from one another's experience. Content is broad and varied, ranging from a mixture of critical work on technology, industry and regulatory convergence, to the emerging wider socio-cultural and political questions such as the application of online networks, the rise of cloud computing and the Internet of Things. We intend to examine critically emerging wider questions such as the role of 'digital citizens', the regulatory environment for the new platform industry and the role of state regulation in an increasingly global media industry.
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